Erich Lessing

A hand from heaven—a common symbol of God in Jewish and Christian art from at least the third century (also see the cover of this issue)—passes Moses the Ten Commandments in this 16th-century mural from the Romanian Church of Sucevita. God himself remains unseen and abstract, as in the Book of Deuteronomy. As Israelite religion was refined in the mid-seventh century B.C.E., God lost his anthropomorphic attributes. Rather than meeting Moses on Sinai, “from the heavens he made you hear his voice” (Deuteronomy 4:36).